If you have an online business, you either have a Mobile Application by now or you are in the process of building one. Most online businesses have a good knowledge of customer’s click stream information, browsing behavior, conversion rates etc. However, Mobile Apps seem to be a different story. Some businesses know what percentage of their transactions are executed on Mobile App vs. their website while some have enabled Mobile App click stream reporting especially now that many Web Analytics vendors have created Mobile App tracking solutions but they have not flagged the transactions in their warehouses to indicate where the transactions are originating from!
Well, should they care about the user browsing data from Mobile App? Does your business use Web Analytics data to make important business decisions? If the answer is yes and if your Mobile App is providing important functionality to your users, then Mobile App tracking is just as important as your Web Analytics tracking. With 15 billion iPhone Apps downloaded till date (reference http://bit.ly/qCdCNj ), most Mobile users are spending more time on an iPhone App than their Mobile browsers.
So what should you track from your Mobile App? Web Analytics and Mobile Analytics have a lot in common but also there are some differences to be aware of. Just like Web Analytics, you want the basic numbers of page views, visits, visitors etc and depending on the “success events”, you want to get conversion rates and KPIs of your Mobile App. But also there are many important differences to keep in mind.
It’s important to monitor downloads and activation rates for Mobile app. For iPhone Apps, Apple does not provide data APIs so reporting is a bit tedious. One can manually copy data from iTunes connect or there are screen scrapping programs out there but it is not ideal. Now, download numbers only say part of the story. What you are really after is the Activation numbers. How many people actually used the Application.
I have used Google Analytics visitor count and also validated that by with the data warehouse reports and the numbers were very close. Depending on the App and the segment of your users you may see 80-95% conversion rates. Some users download the app multiple times but some may not even use it at all. Especially if you have stringent log-in requirements, you may see a significant drop off there.
Mobile Apps do not have referral information and I had a hard time getting accurate time on “site”, meaning time user spent in the Application. Since there is no concept of a page in Mobile Applications, implementing Mobile Application tags is a bit different from the Web Analytics tags.
You have to identify what you want to tag as a page vs a click on a page or actions and send a virtual page views of events or commerce variable to the ASP provider you are using. If you have a lot of Rich Internet Applications on your site, you may have already done this exercise for your website.
I will write more about Mobile Analytics in the coming weeks/months.